Skip to Content

What is the difference between the color periwinkle and lavender?

What is the difference between the color periwinkle and lavender?

Periwinkle and lavender are both light purple shades that are quite similar and often confused with one another. However, there are some key differences between these two popular colors that are worth understanding. In this article, we will compare and contrast periwinkle and lavender across various factors to highlight how they are unique. Some of the key topics we will cover include:

– The technical definitions of each color
– Color code values and how they differ
– Origins and historical usage of each shade
– Symbolic and cultural associations
– Use cases and popularity across industries
– How the two colors work together in design

By the end, you will have a strong understanding of periwinkle vs. lavender and be able to confidently tell the two shades apart. Let’s dive in!

Technical Definitions

On a technical level, periwinkle and lavender are defined as follows:

Periwinkle – A pale purplish-blue color that takes its name from the periwinkle flower. It is considered a lighter, brighter, more blue-based color than lavender.

Lavender – A light or pale purple with a pinkish tinge. It is considered slightly darker and less blue than periwinkle, with more of a true purple or pinkish tone.

So in the simplest terms, periwinkle leans blue while lavender leans purple or pink. But looking at color codes helps further distinguish these hues.

Color Code Values

Periwinkle and lavender are differentiated by their unique RGB, CMYK, and hex color codes:

Color RGB CMYK Hex
Periwinkle R: 204, G: 204, B: 255 C: 20%, M: 20%, Y: 0%, K: 0% #CCCCFF
Lavender R: 230, G: 230, B: 250 C: 8%, M: 8%, Y: 0%, K: 2% #E6E6FA

Looking at these values, you can see periwinkle has more blue than lavender based on the higher blue (B) value in the RGB code. And in the CMYK code, periwinkle has higher percentages of cyan and magenta (the cooler colors) compared to lavender.

The hex codes are also distinctly different, with periwinkle featuring a #CCCCFF value compared to lavender’s #E6E6FA hex.

Origins and Historical Usage

In addition to their technical definitions, periwinkle and lavender have unique histories that inform their different color profiles:


– Name comes from the periwinkle flower, which has blueish-purple colored petals.
– Used since Medieval times as a color in heraldry and design.
– Popular bright purplish-blue pigment in the Renaissance, often used in illuminated manuscripts.
– Remained popular in arts and crafts through the 18th and 19th century.


– Name comes from the lavender flower, which has a soft purple or lilac color.
– Light purple tint associated with upper-class women in the 1700s Victorian era.
– Commonly used in fabrics and fashion like dresses, bonnets, and sashes.
– Remained a staple in feminine style and décor into the early 20th century.

So periwinkle has been traditionally used as a vivid, saturated bluish purple, inspired by a flower of the same name. Lavender has been typically used as a softer, lighter pinkish purple, named after the delicate lavender flower.

Symbolic and Cultural Meanings

In terms of symbolic associations, periwinkle and lavender also have some differing connotations:

– Often represents blossoming friendships and sentimental memories.
– Can signify desire for growth or achievement.
– Associated with magical qualities in folklore.
– Represents clarity, peacefulness, and spiritual wisdom in color psychology.

– Represents femininity, grace, and elegance.
– Associated with refined sophistication and nobility.
– Evokes romanticism, nostalgia, and remembrance.
– Represents balance, calmness, and tranquility in color psychology.

So periwinkle suggests magic, energy, and ambition, while lavender is more about elegance, nostalgia, and calmness. Both evoke a sense of spirituality as well.

Use Cases and Popularity

How are periwinkle and lavender used today across industries and popular culture? Here are some of the main use cases for each color:


– Used in marketing by brands wanting to convey friendliness and approachability.
– Popular for children’s products, toys, and clothing.
– Commonly seen in crafts, stationery, and decorative accessories.
– Used in interior design to add energy to a room.
– Seen in fashion when a youthful, magical vibe is desired.


– Extremely popular in women’s fashion and beauty products.
– Used in floral design and events planning, especially weddings.
– Commonly seen in home décor accents, textiles, and wall paints.
– Provides a soothing ambiance in spas, meditation spaces, and bedrooms.
– Adds a romantic, vintage vibe to photography backdrops and props.

So periwinkle pops up in children’s items, crafts, and energetic spaces, while lavender dominates in feminine arenas like fashion, makeup, and romance-themed events.

Some iconic uses of these colors include:

– Periwinkle: Tinkerbell’s dress in Peter Pan media

– Lavender: The color schemes for Princess dresses at Disney Parks

How They Work Together in Design

Because periwinkle and lavender are so closely related in the purple color family, they actually combine beautifully in all kinds of designs. Here are some tips for using them together:

– Blend periwinkle and lavender in a ombre gradient effect. The periwinkle will smoothly transition into the lighter lavender shade.

– Use periwinkle for accents like text or borders against a soft lavender background. This creates a nice pop of contrast.

– Add lavender decor accessories like pillows or flowers to a periwinkle painted room. The lighter lavender tones will perfectly complement the bolder periwinkle walls.

– Alternate between rows or columns of periwinkle and lavender in printed designs like invitations, websites, etc.

– In fashion, pair a periwinkle top with lavender pants or shoes. Or combine a lavender dress with periwinkle jewelry.

– On the web, use periwinkle for buttons or headers and lavender for backgrounds or content sections.

The vibrant energy of periwinkle balances beautifully against the dreamy, ethereal quality of lavender. Using them wisely together can create gorgeous, feminine color schemes.


So in summary, while periwinkle and lavender may seem quite similar at first glance, they have distinct technical differences, histories, symbolic meanings, and use cases that set them apart. Periwinkle is a brighter purplish-blue that represents growth and magic. Lavender is a softer, pinkish purple embodying elegance and calm. But the two complement each other beautifully in design and décor. Hopefully this breakdown has helped clarify the subtle contrasts between these two stunning purple hues. When comparing periwinkle vs. lavender, there are definitely some key distinguishing factors to keep in mind!